Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another day in Oman

Walking out of the water pools in Wadi Bani Khalid (wadi's - valleys where water runs through). The girls are walking along the edges of the falaj system. The falaj irrigation system is seen all over the place and has been used for, oh, a couple thousand years. This particular system is still in use and provides the village below drinking and irrigation water. Enjoying a nice, cool dip in the water pools. Yep, the same water pools that provide the drinking water to the village below - lalalalala. Funny, there were families in the water pool fully dressed - it was hot, they had no suits, so in they went.
OK - here we are in an old town and driving through NARROW streets. This particular entry required folding in the side mirrors and squeaking through with bare inches on each side. And we thought some of the streets in Italy were narrow!
The same village with the narrow streets. We couldn't catch the name but this was the square that conducted the notorious business of slave trade in Oman when the Portuguese occupied Omani ports several hundred years ago.
A view from above of the Wadi Bani Khalid - water pools. Hard to believe these barren, arid mountains have any water flowing under them at all.
Lastly for today, an abandoned village in the Jebel al Akhdar. The Jebel al Akhdar region has only been accessible by asphalt road in the last 4 -5 years. Prior to that, it was accessed via donkeys. Even with the road, there is a checkpoint and only 4wd vehicles are allowed due to the steep grade. Prior to the 4wd restriction, regular autos were having accidents due to high desert temps and melting brakes.
I took this pic from a similarly abandoned village across the way. They both had well developed falaj systems - even today. It helps for the villages still occupied below. These villages were built from mud brick with date palm trunks for support frames. The date palms used in construction last only 150 - 200 years. So eventually, the villagers must rebuild or move. I personally think they got tired of crossing the hot mountains with donkeys.
Hope these posts don't bore to death with facts, figures, etc... I just found it all to be so different and interesting.
For those of you in the freezing climates - thinking about the in-laws in Minn. with -30F - warm thoughts going out to you.


Linds said...

This is so fascinating, Susan! I am loving all the info. I know less than nothing about Oman, so it is great to see it through your eyes. Wonderful photos!

Judy said...

The info is very interesting. Thanks for the posts. Oh and thanks for the warm thoughts. I think we made it to -9 today! Brrr!!!

Josh & Sarah said...

Bored with your posts? Never!!! Seriously, reading about all your adventures is a bright spot in my day. Especially when it is 8 degrees with a windchill in the negatives. Your trip looked amazing! Thank you for sharing!